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The meeting was opened by chairman Ian Wilkinson, who announced the recent death of honorary member Eric Birbeck, and a minute's silence was observed.
Secretary Fraser Suffield and treasurer Forbes Grant gave their reports. As usual, both detailed satisfactory administration. Apologies were read and birthday wishes.
Speaker Dinah Iredale was then introduced. She is from a farming background and spoke on Bondagers.
Bondagers were women who worked on the farms of Northumberland and South East Scotland during the 17th to early 20th centuries. A farmer would hire a hind, who would agree as part of his contract to provide another worker, normally a woman, known as a bondager to carry out outside work.
They wore very distinctive and attractive costumes. William Cobbett described them as looking like “romantic milk maids”.
The main problem was the small size of the cottages provided to house the hind, his family and the bondager.
After a fascinating talk, which took us from the 17th century to shortly after the Second World War, Norman Laidler reminisced about his school days when he lived in the countryside with far less mechanisation than we now have and gangs were in the fields picking potatoes.
He wasn’t the only one with these memories and his vote of thanks was given sincerely.